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Tommy Tate has been called “The greatest soul singer you've never heard of.” An almost cult-like figure in Deep Soul, Southern Soul, and British Northern Soul circles, Tommy started drumming and singing in small clubs in the Jackson, Mississippi area about the time he was 13.

During the 1960s, he recorded singles for ABC-Paramount, Okeh, Verve, Swing, Atco, Big Ten, and Musicor. On many of these recordings, he was backed by fellow Jacksonians, Tim Whitsett & The Imperial Show Band. In 1965, Tommy began performing with Whitsett’s band (along with Dorothy Moore) and by 1966 he’d become their featured vocalist (when Dorothy left the group).

Between 1966 and 1969, Tommy and the Show Band, traveled extensively, performing in New York City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Lake Tahoe, The Great Lakes, Boston, and Canada. Although most songs on this album were recorded in Jackson, two tracks, (Little Girl Blue and My Funny Valentine) are rehearsal tapes recorded in Tommy’s hotel room at the Village Inn, Erie Pennsylvania, accompanied by the band’s guitarist Bucky Barrett.

In 1970, as the Viet Nam War peaked, the U.S. Draft Board picked the Imperial Show Band clean. Of the 4 members the Army overlooked, Bucky Barrett joined Roy Orbison; keyboardist Carson Whitsett joined Elliott Randall to tour with Eric Mercury; and Tim Whitsett and Tommy Tate were recruited by Stax Records.

Tommy recorded some 20 tracks for Stax and its distributed label Ko Ko, and wrote many chart songs for Luther Ingram. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, he cut one album for Frederick Knight’s Juana label, two LPs for Tim Whitsett’s Urgent! Records, dozens of sides for the Sundance label, and wrote numerous songs for Malaco artists Bobby Blue Bland, Johnnie Taylor, Little Milton, et al.

Tommy Tate’s singing and songwriting career came to an unfortunate and premature end in 2002 when he suffered a debilitating stroke. But he continues to gain new fans as his recordings keep appearing in compilations and new formats.


 

 

STAND BY ME

GET IT OVER ANYWAY

SO HARD TO LET A GOOD THING GO

INSPIRED TO LOVE YOU

WHERE DID I GO (1969)

PUSH PUSH

YOU’RE NOT TO BLAME

LITTLE GIRL BLUE

MY FUNNY VALENTINE

THE WHOLE WORLD IS THE SAME

WHERE DID I GO (1968)

LET US BE HEARD


 


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